Fairmont State and North Greenville will both be seeking their first wins of the young season Saturday afternoon when the Falcons and Crusaders square off at 1:30 p.m. at Younts Stadium in Tigerville, S.C.

Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. It will also be North Greenville’s home opener.

FSU opened its season Thursday, Aug. 31 with a 26-9 loss to 17th-ranked California (Pa.) University.

North Greenville, on the other hand, began play Saturday, Sept. 2 when it lost on the road, 48-35, to Virginia-Wise.

That contest was actually tied at 35 with a minute to play in regulation when UVA-Wise broke the game open. First, North Greenville gave up a 45-yard TD run with 40 seconds left. Then, seconds later Virginia-Wise fell on a Crusader fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to seal the win.

North Greenville returns eight starters on offense and six on defense from a team which finished 3-8 in 2005. The Crusaders have five players who received some kind of mention on the Don Hansen Football Gazette preseason NCAA Division II All-America Team.

Derek White, a 6-1, 220-pound senior defensive end/linebacker, was a first-team selection. He racked up 10 total tackles in Saturday’s loss to UVA-Wise.

Josh Williams, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior defensive back who had a team-high 11 tackles against Virginia-Wise, was an honorable mention selection, while Ken Floyd, a 6-1, 250-pound defensive end, also garnered honorable mention status.

Offensively, Travis Talbert, a 5-9, 185-pound junior receiver, and Adrian Escalona, the Crusaders’ placekicker, were honorable mentions selections. Talbert had 54 catches for 809 yards and five touchdowns in 2005. In North Greenville’s opener he had a team-high five receptions for 64 yards and one score.

The Crusaders tend to be a balanced team on offense. Saturday North Greenville rolled up 443 yards, including 236 on the ground and 207 through the air. Eric Moeller, a 6-2, 216-pound junior quarterback, completed 13-of-25 passes for 207 yards and two scores. Besides Talbert, his favorite target was Brandon Dobbins, who had four catches for 54 yards and a score.

Last season Moeller threw for 2,124 yards and 17 scores.

North Greenville’s ground attack is led by 5-9, 196-pound sophomore tailback Rashad Cummings, who had 130 yards and one TD on 21 carries in the loss to Virginia-Wise. Fullback Tim Brown, a 5-8, 225-pound senior, added 59 yards on nine carries, while Matt Moore, a 6-foot, 198-pound sophomore backup tailback, chipped in 58 yards on six attempts.

Virginia-Wise rolled up 467 total yards against the Crusaders, including 288 via the air and 179 on the ground.

North Greenville turned the football over four times in the loss to Virginia-Wise. The Crusaders fumbled the ball four times and lost three of them and had one pass intercepted. UVA-Wise committed just one turnover.

Mike Taylor is the head coach of the Crusaders. He has been at the school seven years in a total of two stints. He first coached North Greenville from 1988-91 when it was a junior college. He left to take the head coaching job at his alma mater Newberry and returned to North Greenville in 2004.

The school is located in northwestern South Carolina, about seven hours from Fairmont.

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